Thursday, January 3, 2013

Nov 2011 - Baby Passports

They say that most Americans don't have a passport, and thus, are not able to see the rest of the world.  But after watching the people on the show Honey Boo Boo, I'm sure the International Community isn't all that upset about missing out on Americans abroad.

As you probably guessed, my parents are all about the Passport.

I was born in late 2011.  That night in the hospital, while I was in the NICU getting my Apgar score (I aced it, by the way), my obsessive father was busy ordering extra copies of my Long Form Birth Certificate (reason explained below).  The Birth Certificates arrived to our apartment 14 days later.  Later that same week, I was abducted from the comfort of my crib (just after I pimped it out with cartoon ducks and turtles) and taken to the local Post Office for mugshots for my passport application.  And yes, I made my discomfort known to anyone within screaming distance.

But thanks to my crazy dad, within 30 days of my birth, I already had my US Passport and was planning my first international trip to see my grandparents in Israel.  For those parents out there who are also thinking of taking their child to far away lands (besides Epcot Center in Orlando), here's the outline my parents followed.

Infant/Child Passports (from the US Department of State website)
  • All minors (including newborns and infants) must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air.
  • Minors under age 16 must apply in person.
  • Both parents should come in person.  If one is unable to come, you can fill out some Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent for the hungover missing parent.  If both are unable, then just send the infant by herself with 2 Form DS-3053's attached to her diaper.
Applying for Passport
To apply for an infant's passport is pretty easy and mostly the same as for an adult passport.  You only need a handful of documents to apply but note that the original documents will be mailed out with the application and will be returned to you later (so get extra original copies).

  1. Form DS-11 Application for a US Passport
  2. Evidence of US Citizenship (certified birth certificate works best)
  3. Evidence of Relationship (something showing that you are the child's parents; you can use the same birth certificate)
  4. Parent ID & Copy.  Mother and Father need to show their ID's (State Driver's license or Passports) as well as submit a paper photocopy for each ID along with the application.
  5. Passport Fees.  It was about $105 when I got mine done.  
  6. Passport Photographs.  This is probably the most difficult item to get.  Depending on the Post Office, they may have someone available there to take baby passport photos, but good luck trying to get the baby to look forward with their eyes open.  It took my parents about 5 tries in between random episodes of crying totaling 40 minutes, but give me a break, I was only 3 weeks old.  Luckily, the Post Office people are familiar with this and will not charge you 5x for the photos.
They say it can take up to 6-8 weeks to process but I got mine back within 10 calendar days because they thought my passport photo was so adorable.  My father says they just tell you that it will take longer to scare the last minute lazy people who watch Honey Boo Boo into paying an extra $60 to expedite it.

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